Siege of govt. buildings continues in Libya

Thu May 2, 2013 17:06:16

Gunmen continue siege of two key Libyan ministries, leaving the authorities in a dilemma of whether to risk a bloody confrontation or reinforce the image of a helpless state by negotiating patiently, Alalam reports.

They have encircled the Foreign Ministry since Sunday and the Justice Ministry since Tuesday, demanding the sacking of former officials from the ousted regime of Muammar Qaddafi.


The same groups, most of them former rebels who fought to oust Qaddafi in 2011, briefly occupied the Finance Ministry on Monday.


A member of the former Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), Khaled Al-Sayeh, says the groups involved in the blockade of the ministries want to isolate former regime members and “pull out several figures from country’s political scene.”


“Those who have people’s blood on their hands and have stolen their properties must be punished, but expelling everyone who once worked for Qaddafi regime is not right,” he told Alalam on Wednesday.


He said the establishment of a strong judiciary system is most important issue for the country to bring to justice those violated people’s rights.


Libya’s Justice Ministry has dismissed the idea of using force to break the siege, saying the government preferred to “let wisdom prevail.”


However some believe that considering tribal nature of Libya, any conflict could end with undesirable consequences.


Since the fall of Qaddafi’s regime, the former rebels managed border controls, prisons, strategic facilities in the country and vital institutions.


But Amnesty International said the militias were now realizing that they too are answerable.


“The era when the revolutionaries were treated as untouchable heroes and placed on pedestals seems to be over, and their attempts to cover up abuses might be a sign that they finally realize that they will not remain immune from justice forever,” the rights group said.

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